June 4, 2015 4 Comments

Synopsis: After her father’s death, Caroline Taylor has grown confident running the Windmill Point Lighthouse. But in 1865 Michigan, women aren’t supposed to have such roles, so it’s only a matter of time before the lighthouse inspector appoints a new keeper–even though Caroline has nowhere else to go and no other job available to her.

‘HEARTS MADE WHOLE,’ BY JODY HEDLUND #FWarchives #HistoricalFiction Click To Tweet

Ryan Chambers is a Civil War veteran still haunted by the horrors of battle. He’s been given the post as lighthouse keeper, and the isolation where he can drown in drink and hide from his past is appealing. He’s not expecting the current keeper to be a feisty and beautiful woman who’s none-too-pleased to be giving up her position. They both quickly realize he’s in no shape to run the lighthouse, but Ryan’s unwilling to let anyone close, ravaged by memories and guilt. Caroline’s drawn to this wounded soul, but with both of them relying on that single position, can they look past their loss to a future filled with hope…and possibly love? – Goodreads

Hearts Made Whole, by Jody Hedlund | Book Review

‘HEARTS MADE WHOLE,’ BY JODY HEDLUND. A kind of CBA historical Beauty and the Beast re-telling. All text © Rissi JC

Given her track record and beautiful prose, it’s no surprise when I say (or it shouldn’t be), Jody’s latest novel is a compelling, evocative story that doesn’t evade its obligation to show a hurting soul in need of love, healing and forgiveness. Within this, there’s beauty that blooms from those cleansing emotions. The second book in Jody’s recent Bethany House series, this novel sets out to chronicle Ryan’s story, brother of Emma, our heroine in Love Unexpected. Where Emma’s story is sweeter (though not without its trials), Ryan’s goes in direct opposition; strife follows him like a bad omen. I’m leading off with the characters because, really, they are who impress in Hearts Made Whole. We get to see Ryan’s character in masterful way; the depth of his pain, the emotional turmoil he goes through and the mental anguish he endures is masterfully written.


I think for a hero in a CBA market novel, he is the first soul I can remember that’s all torture. And I have to confess, I like that conflict. Not because he suffers, rather because it presents the author was some beautiful challenges. It’s not the most pleasant thing to experience, however the premise of a man whose past haunts him – a character who is more than a handsome face, is never bad. Under Jody’s talented hand, everything plays out really well and I love the progression of the characters. Ryan’s healing is a genuine aspect of the story as is Caroline’s growing affection for him. She’s an excellent buffer for his more volatile temper (though he’s not a violent person, merely lost); ultimately it’s her goodness and love that helps him. (To be honest, I’m getting a few Beauty and the Beast feels with this story.) 

Fans of this author’s prior novels will appreciate this story. It’s got the usual heartwarming scenes, which ensures a lovely, quaint kind of charm, yet brims with sincerity. This book doesn’t eclipse my favorite Jody Hedlund book (that honor remains with A Noble Groom), but it’s still a poignant read. If you like books that feature flawed, occasionally brooding heroes, this might be the book to pick up. The redeeming qualities, specifically the redemptive transformation Ryan undergoes, of this story make it hard to put down. Into its pages, a genuine hero walks and in time, an honest story weaves a pattern of hope. The ending perfectly shapes this story (its jump in time allows for a full and healthy conclusion), and because of this, we’re more hopeful by the ultimate journey and message. 

About the Book:

(Disclosure: this post does contain affiliate links; if you buy anything through these links, I may receive a small percentage of the sale at no extra cost to you. Thank you to anyone who makes a purchase through these links. Read the disclosure page for details.)

Author: Jody Hedlund
Publisher: Bethany House
Source: Author Provided
Publication Date: 2015
Find the Review elsewhere: Amazon ǀ Goodreads
Shop the Book: Bookshop.org | Goodreads
Series: Beacons of Hope, book 2
Genre: Fiction; Historical Romance
Rating: 4 out of 5 

Sincere thanks to the author, Jody Hedlund (and publisher) for providing a complimentary copy of this book, as an influence and for reviewing purposes.

About Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

Rissi JC

amateur graphic designer. confirmed bookaholic. bubbl’r enthusiast. critical thinker. miswesterner. social media coordinator. writer.

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  • Heidi Robbins June 4, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    Love your review! I'm starting this book tonight and I'm excited for depth in the characters!

    • Rissi June 5, 2015 at 5:02 AM

      Thanks for reading, Heidi. I hope this one doesn't disappoint you. Looking forward to your reviews. :)

  • Dawn Janis June 7, 2015 at 1:05 AM

    I felt the same way about Ryan!

    • Rissi June 8, 2015 at 8:17 PM

      He is an amazing character! :)

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